Vegan Christmas Gift Guide
If you’re a vegan, buying another vegan a gift in the holiday season is a piece of cake.
If you’re not a vegan, this can be a daunting task. There is so much stuff that’s off the list.
Handbags? Gotta check they’re not made out of leather. Ditto wallets, belts, and shoes.
Clothing? Make sure there’s no animal byproducts, or leather or fur trim snuck in somewhere.
Food? No christmas cake, chocolates, mince pies or butter tarts — unless they’re specifically made without eggs or milk or butter!
Beauty products? Milk, lactic acid, and honey sneak their way into many products. And then there’s the animal testing issue…
So here’s a gift guide to help those poor souls who are a bit confounded by vegan gift buying! We’ve broken it down into interests, to give it some order.
We’ve included gift ideas from Australia, America, and Canada, where most of our readers come from. But if you know of any awesome brands or products that ship worldwide that we haven’t included, feel free to give them a shout-out in the comments!
These are my personal favourites in footwear. In particular, I love the Melissa’s by Vivienne Westwood range, as pictured to the left.
They range from trendy to classy, they’re super comfortable, and they’re impregnated with a cherry scent – so your feet actually smell good too!
Aside from looking and smelling great, all Melissa plastic shoes are created with a zero waste ethos and particular attention to the life cycle of materials. Melissa recycles 99.9% of factory water and waste, and they recycle overstock styles into next season’s collection.
Melissa also donates monthly to support local homeless children and pregnant women (as well as massive donations of shoes) and also donates part of its monthly income to developing green urban areas.
Founded by Elizabeth Olsen in NYC in 2008, Elizabeth is an advocate against the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation and entertainment.
Olsenhaus’ focus is to provide beautiful pieces that show fashion can be affordable, beautiful, and cruelty free.
For colder climates, check out Bourgeois Boheme’s Lindsay Tweed and Matilda boots. I would have had my eye on these if we were still in Toronto for the cold weather this year.
BoBo for short, “BoBo combines original British design and ethical materials and production, creating a collection that doesn’t just look good; it feels darn good, too.”
Their shoes look as polished as any leather pair, but are made without any animal-derived materials such as fur, leather, wool, silk and animal-based glues, or even PVC. They use high-quality, Italian-made cotton-backed microfibre PU (polyurethane), textiles and natural materials.
65% of its clothing is made with sustainable fabrics, and many of the factories they work with Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), an independent, non-profit team of global social compliance experts.
Even vegans want to look and feel like rockstars sometimes. Check out Delikate Rayne’s vegan leather offerings. I love their bustier and skirt.
Delikate Rayne describes itself as using “…innovative animal-free textiles, clean lines, and asymmetrical cuts [to] create a harmonious blend of compassion, luxury, and street style. DR’s immaculate craftsmanship and an aesthetic embodying edgy elegance, infused with an understated glamour, result in sleek must have separates for every wardrobe.”
Jill Milan makes some of the most covetable handbags and accessories for vegans that I’ve ever seen. These pieces can take you from the office to high tea to clubbing.
Not only are these handbags made by hand and are completely cruelty free using natural materials, a portion of Jill Milan proceeds are donated to organizations that rescue and retrain former racehorses. Without the aid of these non-profit groups, frequently horses are at risk of being shipped to Canada or to Mexico for slaughter.
American Vegan supply makes handcrafted cruelty free, vegan leather accessories and clothing in America. They strongly believe in animal rights, and donate a portion of their proceeds to animal charities.
Their stock also comes with a really affordable price tag. Check out their Harrison Brown Wallet, handmade in California.
And OMG THEY ARE VEGAN AND AMAZING. They’re also gluten free, if you can’t tolerate gluten!
Aside from chocolate biscuits, Leda also produces a range of gluten free, dairy free snack bars.
LEDA Nutrition currently produces 14 gluten free products which are sold throughout Australia and New Zealand, through major Supermarkets & Independents and Health Food stores. And, we’ve found their biscuits, bars, and rum balls in Rimping in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Canadian Vegan Goodies
If you’re in Toronto, Canada and want sweet treats, you can’t go past Bunner’s bakery in Kensington Markets. The bakery opened up mid 2014, and I only got to experience it for a month before we packed up from Toronto and moved on to Thailand.
Though, it was a little too tempting it seems, as I managed to lose a few kilos promptly on our relocation to Chiang Mai! Bunners is also gluten free as well as dairy free. If you visit, please make sure you have a butter tart. They are things of beauty!
Urban Herbivore, Sweets from The Earth, and a range of other brands we featured in What Do Vegans Eat For Dessert are also delicious and would make any vegan in Toronto happy!
There are a range of fantastic vegan cookbooks we’d recommend, no matter where you are in the world. Our personal favourites are: Thug Kitchen, Oh She Glows, and Fresh Cookbooks. Each of these books is really different, so even one of each would be a great gift.
Not only do vegans like dessert, but they like alcohol too!
Many wines and beers are made with egg whites, fish bladders, milk, pig and cow tissues (gelatin), and crab and lobster shells (chitin) as part of the refining and colouring process.
Some great vegan friendly wines and sparkling drops are Korbel Natural Champagne, Yalumba – An Australian wine, vegan as of its 2011 vintages (except for their sparkling wines), Pfeiffner Wines in Rutherglen, James Erskine of Jauma Wines in the Adelaide Hills, and Moet (NB: Moet also owns companies which are not veggie or vegan friendly).
The same products can be found in beer refining. We learnt at Steam Whistle that due to purity laws, German beers are always vegan friendly.
Corona, Asahi, Saporro (NB: when in Asia stick to Asahi and Saporro – Tiger and Leo are not vegan on my last check), Budweiser, and Heinekin are also vegan friendly. Australian vegan friendly beers include James Boags, Coopers, and Little Creatures (NB: Little Creatures’ beers are vegan, their ciders aren’t).
I’m a fan of Australian ciders, and love Hillbilly Blue Mountains Apple & Pear Cider. It’s made 100% from apples and pears, with no added flavours or sugars, and it’s naturally fermented in Bilpin. In the 2014 Australian cider awards in October, Hillbilly Pear cider won ‘best in class’ and the Hillbilly apple won a silver medal.
They’ve also just released a Hillbilly Vintage cider in time for the festive season. It’s a limited release Normandy style cider (owner Shane worked in France this year) made from late season 2014 Bilpin apples from Shields and Tadrosse orchards. Its been double fermented in French oak. Tessa (also the owner and Shane’s wife) says it’s a great alternative to cracking a bottle of sparkling.
The Beauty Girl/Boy
One of THE best skincare products on the market is also vegan, cruelty free, and paraben free. It’s also formulated by one of the most respected dermatologists in the industry. I’ve been using Dr. Dennis Gross products for years now and it’s one of the best things I’ve done for my skin. If you swim in chlorine water, the moisturisers are fantastic!
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to know about Lush skincare. They’re probably the most well-known animal friendly, anti-cruelty skincare store in the world. Whilst not all of their products are vegan, 83% of their products are vegan. The instore workers are all very knowledgeable and can tell you which products are vegan and which aren’t, and you can filter your online searches easilty for vegan products. There are a stack of cute Christmas themed bath products out at the moment which make great stocking stuffers.
Lush also has a range of vegan perfumes I have my eye on. I’m going to try out Breath of God solid perfume, and Hellstone perfume.
I am a huge fan of buying from small business. After traveling extensively through the United States, shopping at Walmart, and learning about the effect of Walmart’s negotiating tactics on suppliers down chain, and on small business, I’ve decided to actively support as many small businesses as I can.
Dirty Hippie cosmetics is an all natural, indie Australian cosmetics company run from Canberra. Some of the products are vegetarian rather than vegan (the honey and wax comes from the owner’s best friend’s own bee hives), so just be mindful of your purchases for vegans.
We’d be remiss not to include something from our temporary home of Chiang Mai in Thailand.
Using traditional methods, Sabu Sabu creates a vast range including castile soaps, shampoos, facial care products, household cleaning solutions, and children’s products. Their vegan friendly products are clearly labelled. I’m currently using their lemongrass and charcoal soap. I’m loving it on my skin, face, and even my hair!
This Australian company not only makes cruelty free, natural vegan makeup and cosmetics. They’re also scientifically assessed as being gluten free. Pregnant ladies, if you’re concerned about chemicals in cosmetics, check out this brand.
The Outdoors Type
Many of WW’s products include animal products, but they also have some fantastic natural and synthetic products which are vegan friendly. Its bamboo socks are soft, comfortable, anti bacterial, moisture wicking, insulating, and eco-friendly. And they’re made of cruelty free 90% Bamboo 10% Spandex. There’s also a Polypropylene range of thermals, made of thermoplastic polymer.
The Australian Zimmermann sisters make fantastic swimwear that is beautiful, and functional, and made with quality Italian lycra.
In Australia, you can check these out in the Zimmerman stores.
In America, they’re available in Anthropologie.
I contacted Zimmermann to see if all of its swimwear was 100% vegan friendly, but had no response. In these circumstances, I would just be mindful to check labels.
Vegan friendly materials include rayon, polyester, microfibre, polyurethane leather (sometimes called pleather), fake suedes, bamboo, jute, hemp, nylon, canvas, spandex, and cotton. Materials to avoid include leather, fur, fleece, wool, suede, and silk.
I’d be a bad Australian, and a bad swimmer, if I didn’t include Speedos here. For the serious atheltes, there’s the high range Fastskins. For the more casual female swimmers, there’s the beautiful Sculpture range. Originally made of silk, speedos are now combinations of spandex and nylon.
Brace yourself for the price. This is not cheap yoga and pilates wear (particularly if you’re in Australia where it costs more than the US or Canada). But these leggings and bras are worth it. If you’re larger in the bust area, like I am, the Ta Ta Tamers are the best sports bras I’ve used.
And the high rise long leggings got me through cold Canadian winters, while the ¾ leggings are wicking away the sweat on long walks and hard pilates sessions in Thailand. Lululemon uses its own blend of fabric called “Luon”, which is preshrunk, stretchy, and wicks away moisture from your body when you sweat. The lycra ensures that the fabric will never “stretch or bag out,” while the nylon provides coverage.
If you actually spend the winter outdoors in the snow (rather than tucked away inside in your houses and SUVs like most Torontonians I know), you need some hefty gear.
Whilst my motley assortment of synthetic ski gear from Australia with layers of leggings and shirts seemed to miraculously hold up in walks for hours in -30ish degrees, I really wanted fancy materials that the US military used that were structurally superior to bird down. North Face uses Primaloft, which is vegan friendly, light, and doesn’t lose its waterproofness. This is its Elevation jacket for women, which I really like.
Vegan Wares is a a sustainable vegan store in Melbourne, Australia, that has a range of hiking boots for men and women. The Ranger Boot for women looks particularly sturdy and I like the brown ankle boots.
The Health Guru
If you know a raw vegan (what’s a raw vegan? Head over here and have a look at raw food), they’ll probably appreciate a course of juices for after the party season. Now, juice cleanses are a controversial thing as to whether they are good or bad for you. I do them a few times a year and feel great for them.
Most vegans I know have healthy diets, so a day, 3 days, or even a week of juice is not going to harm them or even make them feel a bit off. But if you have a vegan in your life who lives on fries and Oreos, this will be a rude shock to their system. It’s not a good idea for someone to jump straight into them when they have a diet high in processed foods or too much protein.
In Australia, I’m a huge fan of the Lucky You Cleanse. The founder, Heidy, is originally from California, where raw, fresh, unpasteurised juice cleanses are really popular. It’s the only company in Australia to offer this type of juice.
In America I tried the Blue Print Cleanse, which is easy to have delivered no matter where you are in the States, and you can even purchase individual juices in Whole Foods Market. In Canada we tried out (yes, we, even North Nomad!) Sanna Tea Bar’s 3 day cleanse. Steve Sanna is a wonderful guy. Down to earth, helpful and informative, and tailors your cleanses to you individually based on what your diet is.
Vega protein bars have got me through many “hanger” situations when travelling. In airports, hotels that don’t do vegan breakfasts (or substantial ones for that matter), and on planes and buses, I take vega protein bars with me. Sadly, I couldn’t stuff a suitcase with a six month supply to take to Thailand with us, so I managed to run out in my first week here! Vega also does the best (in my humble opinion ;)) protein powder available for vegans who work out, and comes in a range of tasty flavours.
Most pilates and yoga studios allow you to pre-purchase classes. In many parts of the western world, these aren’t cheap, so it’s a really considerate present for someone who loves their pilates and yoga practice. In Australia, I did Ki Yoga with Janie Lamour at The Centre of Yoga in Darlinghurst and Penrith, and with Lisa Telford at Yoga For The Seasons. In Toronto, I did yoga and pilates classes at Core Studio on Queen Street West (disclosure – I used to work at this studio on Saturdays and received free classes).
What vegan doesn’t love a bit of quirky animal art?
The hippo who dislikes most things is hilarious, but I think the bear who leads a gluten, sugar free diet, but eats men, women, and children is my favourite. 😀
Subscription boxes are all the rage these days. I first became aware of them for receiving monthly snack or makeup samplers, and then realised there was a whole range of vegan subscription boxes.
And The Vegan Box is Australia’s very first vegan subscription box. Each month, you receive vegan snacks, health food, natural skincare and eco lifestyle products. And for those people concerned about palm oil, they are also 100% palm oil free. Whilst being an Australian company, they ship worldwide, which is fantastic!
If you’re in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the UK, or Canada, you can get a Vegan Box mailed to you. Currently we’re in Thailand, so my vegan box pretties, I shall have you when we’re back in a commonwealth country or two. It should also be mentioned that Hannah, the owner, is a vegan naturopath operating out of Melbourne, so get on board and support Australian small business.
Vegan Cuts is a Canadian vegan giftbox company, with a wide range of categories: Food, Beauty, Fashion, E-books, and Lifestyle. They ship to both Canada and America, which is fantastic for getting a good mix of vegan goodies from both of these countries.
To show you an example of what you get, the snack box includes things like chips, cookies, sodas and teas, and your giftee receives 7-10 vegan goodies straight to their door once a month. With the beauty box, the giftee gets 4-7 new products to try, ranging from unique cosmetics to luxurious skincare.
These are our top picks for vegan gifts this Christmas. What sort of presents are you buying loved ones for Christmas?
NB: Some of these companies listed are entirely vegan, ie: vegan products, vegan owned, and no affiliation with any other companies who are not vegan (e.g. The Vegan Box & Vegan Cuts). Others are partially vegan, partially vegetarian (like Dirty Hippie Cosmetics and Lush). Some are owned by parent companies who own other companies that produce animal products (like Moet). It’s up to each individual to do their research and come to an informed conclusion about what is ethically acceptable to them. Personally, I will buy vegan products from companies that are owned by companies who are not vegan – if their vegan companies and products do well, it encourages growth in vegan products becoming more available and widespread. And as the ladies at The Power Plant put it, would you stop buying vegan products at Coles because they also sell meat?”